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Maganjo fire death toll rises to five

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th December 2009 03:00 AM

Another child burnt in last week’s incident in Maganjo, a Kampala suburb, has died at Mulago Hospital. The passing away of Zurufa Nantaba, 10, on Saturday night brought the death toll to five.

Another child burnt in last week’s incident in Maganjo, a Kampala suburb, has died at Mulago Hospital. The passing away of Zurufa Nantaba, 10, on Saturday night brought the death toll to five.

By Eddie Ssejjoba

Another child burnt in last week’s incident in Maganjo, a Kampala suburb, has died at Mulago Hospital. The passing away of Zurufa Nantaba, 10, on Saturday night brought the death toll to five.

Nayiga is said to have herded her five children into a room on Thursday afternoon and set herself and the children on fire.

The only surviving child, Huzaifa Kagugube, aged four months, was yesterday transferred from the intensive care unit to ward 2C, where nurses and doctors were closely monitoring him.

The saddened relatives, who have been taking care of the children in turns at Mulago Hospital, said Zurufa, who had been promoted to Primary Six at Kagoma Primary School, died at 9:00pm of severe burns and pain.

“She was talking and told the nurses a lot of things she witnessed when their mother forced them into the room and set it on fire. She also narrated what transpired in their home relating to quarrels between their parents,” said Hajara Nantaba, the children’s aunt, who was taking care of the surviving baby.

The elder child, Ibra Muwonge, 12, died instantly while another child, Halima Nabukenya, 8, died soon after she was admitted at Mulago Hospital. Their younger sister, Luswaiba Nabukeera, 6, followed on Thursday at about 7:00pm.

The father, Numan Kagugube, a builder and resident of Maganjo, has been keeping vigil at the hospital since the incident occurred.

Before she died, Zurufa told the family members at her bed in Mulago that their mother returned from her workplace at Kagoma on Thursday and found them watching television.

“The girl said the mother, looking like she was possessed, ordered them to switch off the television, pushed them inside her bedroom and locked it,” the aunt narrated.

“The older boy tried to fight but she beat him into submission. She collected mattresses, bed sheets and other clothes around the door and blocked it. She then lit two mosquito nets and threw them on top of the heap,” the girl told the nurses.

Zurufa eventually stopped responding to treatment, refused to drink and could no longer talk. She went into a coma hours before she passed away. Her body was yesterday transported to Walukubi on Kampala-Jinja highway, where she was buried at the same place as her three siblings and mother.

Relatives gave stunning testimonies about Nayiga, saying she had been a tough woman who had forced most of them to stay away from her home.

Narrating the incident, Hajara, who had been close to the family, said Nayiga called her informing her of what she was about to do.

“She asked me to be at their home within five minutes and pick my favourite child before she sets them on fire,” said the aunt.

“She asked me to talk to the elder boy, Muwonge, on phone but he only greeted me in Islam before she grabbed the phone from him. The next call I got was when she had set the room on fire, bidding me farewell.”

She said she jumped on a boda boda to rush to their home but in her last telephone call, she heard the children screaming for help in the room.

The husband, Numan Kagugube had been telling relatives and friends that the wife attempted twice to poison him and one time wanted to lynch him, accusing him of having secretly married another wife.

Kagugube told The New Vision during the funeral that he fled from the home a week before the tragic incident. He said the wife had set his clothes on fire, which scared him.

Maganjo fire death toll rises to five

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